SIXTEEN police officers in Masvingo walked away with prize money and certificates in the Cottco Zimbabwe 2013 Cop of the Year award ceremony held last week. The police officers, most of them detectives, were rewarded for bravery and diligence in discharging their duties in the year under review.
Addressing the winners and invited guests, the officer commanding Masvingo, Senior Assistant Commissioner Martha Mofolo, hailed the winners for their efforts in fighting crime and also thanked the community for assisting police with information leading to the arrest of suspects.
“The public also played their role by supplying information and in their participation in the various police initiatives, for example, Neighbourhood Watch Committees, Crime Consultative Committees just to mention a few,” said Snr Asst Comm Mofolo.
Snr Asst Comm Mofolo also thanked Cottco Zimbabwe for promoting efficiency and diligence in the police force through the awards.
“We want to thank our all-weather friends, Cottco Zimbabwe for the awards. The valuable support we are getting from Cottco, which has become a long time stakeholder for us, goes a long way in promoting diligence and enthusiasm to excel within our force. We challenge other corporate partners to follow suit,” she said.
She said the officers arrested suspects in robbery and murder cases leading to their conviction in court.
She, however, bemoaned the increase in cases of murder, rape involving juveniles and armed robbery in the province.
“Although there were notable decreases in cases of plain robbery (-27 percent), domestic violence (-11 percent) as well as assault (-6 percent), it is disheartening to note that cases of armed robbery, murder and rape involving juveniles continued to rise.
“Despite the victory we are witnessing today, it is prudent to highlight that the year 2013 was not easy in policing although we achieved a slight decrease of one percent, in general crime. The province received a total of 19 430 cases during the year 2013 as compared to 19 702 cases recorded in 2012 depicting a decrease of 272 cases. In the year 2012 the province recorded a total of 290 cases of rape of juveniles against 332 in 2013,” said Snr Asst Comm Mofolo.
“It is also worrisome to note that stock theft cases rose from 1 726 cases recorded in 2012 to 1 834 cases recorded in 2013 depicting a six percent increase. The province, however, employed anti-stock theft strategies by carrying out numerous operations in a bid to reduce the theft of livestock in the year 2013. The increase calls for a robust approach in curbing crimes of concern in future.”
Five officers, Detective Assistant Inspector Mkachana, Assistant Inspector Simon Gadza, Sergeant Godwin Shamu, Detective Constable Jeffrey Chipengo, Detective Sergeant Jonah Mwinde won the first prize of $531 after they arrested two suspects, Lazarus Birima and Luke Dube who allegedly pounced at Nanjiang African Resources Devuli Diamond Mine in Bikita intending to rob the mine of diamonds on 15 August 2013.
The suspects got away with communication radios and a pair of handcuffs after failing to locate where the gems were kept.
The team recovered two unregistered Toyota 3.0 D4D vehicles, two diamond scales, some tying straps.
Birima and Dube were convicted and sentenced to six years in jail each.
The second prize of $331 went to Det Asst Insp Edwell Chipfakacha and Detective Sergeants Aluis Mafuratidze, Power Gwande, Stanley Tandi, Trynos Madaka, Sibanisenkosi Ngwenya and Mkhululi Dlodlo.
The team arrested an ex-member of the police, Godfrey Musonza and Emmanuel Hwata who had robbed a motorist, Tafireyi Makasi, of money amounting to $3 000, cellphones, groceries and clothing items at a lay-bye on the 10-km peg along Masvingo-Harare road on 10 February 2013.
The pair was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.
In attendance were Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Masvingo Cde Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Assistant Commissioner Loveness Ndanga (responsible for crime), Assistant Commissioner William Tadyanemhandu (responsible for operations), Cottco Zimbabwe representative Munashe Mugwebi and Business Consultative Committee Against Crime chairperson Dr Fredrick Kasese.